Welcome to “WAXING 101” 🙂
Waxing is a method of semi-permanent hair removal which removes the hair from the root. New hair generally grows back from waxed areas generally between 2 to 8 weeks, depending upon the clients/your growth cycle and how fast your hair grows naturally. Occasionally some people will start to see regrowth in only a week. Almost any area of the body can be waxed, including eyebrows, face, bikini areas, legs, arms, back, abdomen and even feet. There are many types of waxing products suitable for removing unwanted hair. There are generally 2 kinds of waxes that are widely used in the industry today (there is also something called Sugaring, which I will create a post just about that subject at a later time). Soft wax or sometimes called “Strip wax” what most are accustomed to seeing and Hard wax.
SOFT WAX (strip wax)
Strip waxing is accomplished by spreading a wax combination or product thinly over the skin. A cloth or paper strip, thought it’s typically a “Muslin” or basic natural cotton fabric that is used. The strip of muslin is then pressed on the top and ripped off with a quick movement against the direction of hair growth. This removes the wax along with the hair. Strip wax can and often times can pull at least a small top layer of you skin, it is not recommended if you have skin sensitivities or other health risks (please see below for warnings).
Generally Soft Wax (Strip Wax) is used for the following body areas:
- upper lips
**Soft wax is used in larger spots of the body and where the skin can be manipulated and pulled tight enough to lesson the tearing effect and damage to your skin itself.
With Hard Wax you are only pulling said wax that is applied, no strip/muslin over the top of wax. In this case, the wax is applied somewhat thickly. The wax hardens when it cools (much to the consistency of silly puddy, sounds silly yes, but, if you have ever handled this toy resin, you will understand), thus allowing the easy removal by a therapist without the aid of cloths. This waxing method is very beneficial to people who have skin sensitivities. Hard Wax generally won’t pull your skin, it only adheres to your hair, thus why you have to make the hard wax a bit thicker when applied to your skin.
Hard Wax is for more sensitive skin areas such as:
- upper lips
- chin & lower lip area
- nose hairs
- ear hairs
- under arms
- pubic hair area (generally Hard Wax is the safest wax to use in this area)
**Any area on your body that you feel is more tender, skin that has less elasticity, if you have sensitivities to soft/strip wax.
Waxing has been used safely and successfully for centuries and if it’s done right, the majority of people can find long lasting results from waxing to remove all unwanted hair on your body/face.
This post is more about the professional techniques and methods; there are however, many DIY waxing kits you can buy for home usage. I will not recommend anything in this post for your home usage, please see “DIY” category, I will attempt to place details there for your DIY usage and potentially good products. Please understand I am not against you doing things yourself and there are some DIY waxing kits that will be efficient for your hair removal needs, however, I also DO NOT recommend you buying a kit and not knowing the consequences. Educate! Educate! Educate! I cannot say this enough. If you attempt a home DIY kit for waxing and you feel comfortable with said product, great. But, I don’t want you to create a situation that will cause more harm then good. Please read below and gather knowledge so you are aware.
The waxing technique generally in my opinion should be left up to the professional. Obviously there are exceptions.
Generally, in most states you are required to have either an Esthetician license or Cosmetologists license in the state you are planning to practice any wax removal process or treatments. This is to ensure the person that is giving you said service is knowledgeable of how to apply, pull and handle skin care related issues that can and might arise during your simple hair removal procedure.
There are only two areas on the body that should NEVER be waxed, they will and can cause severe damage and scarring if done these areas are the eyelids and your eye lashes. Even when you are having your brows waxed and your professional goes lower then necessary on your lid it can cause damage to your eyelid. This skin is extremely fragile and it only gets more fragile as we age. So it is never recommended that you ever remove hair using wax in these two areas. If you have hair there and want it removed, I recommend either your tweezers or threading only.
Other then the above areas mentioned, you can remove any other body hair using a wax product. Weather you would want to is all up to your personal preferences.
ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS
Advantage: It is an effective method to remove large amounts of hair at one time. It’s typically a long-lasting method. Hair in waxed areas will not grow back for two to eight weeks. When hair is shaved or removed by depilatory creams (Nair, for example) the hair is removed at the surface rather than the root. Within a few days, the hair can be seen at the surface. With these methods, hair tends to grow back in a rough stubble. Areas that are repeatedly waxed over long periods of time often exhibit regrowth that is softer and it will slow growth and appear more sparse, if you are able to maintain said waxing treatments over a long period of time.
Drawbacks: Waxing can be painful when the strip/wax is removed from your skin. Although the pain is not long-lasting, it can be intense, particularly in more sensitive areas. The expense of having larger areas of your hair removed, it can be costly, however, it lasts a longer time and cuts down on the time you have to devote daily, weekly, monthly, and if figuring out that time over a year, it might be beneficial to budget waxing for your hair removing needs, depending upon how you feel about unwanted hair on your body. Hair removal is not permanent. When removed against the direction of hair growth, the wax strip may disturb hair follicles, causing hair to begin to grow in different directions. This may cause hair growth to be more noticeable and make other methods of hair removal more difficult. Fortunately, this risk is negligible if the waxing is performed properly. Some people experience ingrown hairs, red bumps, and minor bleeding. This is more likely to occur when waxing areas with thick hair, especially the first few times when follicles are strongest (this changes over time, if you keep up the wax treatments/services, said hair follicles soften and the chance of this side effect lessons) . While usually impossible to eliminate, ingrown hairs can be reduced by regularly exfoliating (please see below for further details), and applying an astringent or a solution of both astringent and oil – typically baby or azulene (calming to the skin)oil, or Aloe Vera cream or gel.
Things to know before you go get your next waxing service at your local salon, spa or Esthetician:
KNOW YOUR SKIN & BE READY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT SAID SKIN TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL BEFORE BEING TREATED
- are you sensitive to the sun (do you burn easily? do you burn then tan or just burn again?)
- what medications are you taking?
- are you diabetic?
- do you have any kind of skin related diagnosed problem? (example: rosacea)
- do you easily get cold sores or fever blisters?
- have you been diagnosed with phlebitis or do you have varicose veins?
- did you exfoliate or have a recent chemical peel or microderm?
- recent injections? (example: Botox)
- any kind of skin lightening procedures?
- taking anything or using anything for your acne?
KNOW YOUR PROFESSIONAL
pay attention to how your professional is handing the wax that they plan to spread onto your skin, if you have been going to them for sometime, then you might already be able to answer this:
Is your Esthetician or Professional giving you the service using safe, health conscience methods?
Are they “Double-Dipping”? If you are not aware of this nasty habit, it’s not safe and you should question if your professional is doing this and why they choose to double-dip rather then just dispose of the sticks and use a new one each time they dip back into the pot of wax. Waxing pots do not and should NEVER get warm/hot enough to kill bacteria, if it did, you would be burned severely by said wax. However, the waxing pot can be a breeding ground for unnecessary bacteria when your professional chooses to be lazy and not use a new clean stick or applicator stick each time they dip into said waxing pot. It’s extremely hazardous to your health and can create infections such as staph or any number of fungal infections. Try to imagine it this way: your professionals prior client could have just been in that room for a full Brazilian, although it’s a clean room and the linens have been changed and it “appears” clean and safe, if they are double-dipping into the same wax that was used for the previous client…. the client that just visited and had a Brazilian wax. Think about that for a few seconds. Then imagine that said client had a yeast infection, or some other fungal infection or even an STD; if your professional is being lazy and not changing said sticks your chances of getting an infection from said wax is high.
I only tell you this hazard as a true regard to your health and well-being. It’s something that very few people ever think about unless you are a professional and are trained during your education process that you should never double-dip. However, in some states you are not required to change sticks, it’s a nasty “gray area”. In fact the state I practice in doesn’t have this as a law… therefore there are some that will double-dip. I hate the thought, habit and find it gross. The sticks are not expensive and it’s a small thing to have peace of mind.
You are the person in control of your service. You have the right to ask and protect yourself. If you are reading this, you are educating yourself and protecting your health.
CONTRAINDICATIONS (you should not have any waxing service done-or consult your physician first and have a note showing your doctor says it’s okay)
- If you’re diabetic
- blood thinning medications
- if you have had recent Chemical Peels using: glycolic, salicylic, or other acid based products
- recent microderms
- recent injectables (like Botox)
- recent cosmetic or reconstructive surgeries
- rosacea or very sensitive skins
- recently sunburned
- presence open pustules or papules on any area you want waxed
- exfoliated topically with medication including: Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Differin, Azelex, or other peeling agents or vitamin A topical products. (Realizing some of the acne meds are changing I chose to leave the older names, due to more understanding)
- Hydroquinone for skin lightening
- Accutane or other acne medications
- any medications that advise you to stay out of the direct ray of the sunlight, these meds are generally temporary, however, you might have to wait to get your next waxing procedure; these medications will make your skin more fragile
- Any form or Steroids (topical or taking orally)
**If you have a tendency to get cold sores or fever blisters please make your professional aware, Generally this isn’t something that will automatically prevent you from getting your service. However, if you have any breakouts it’s never advised to have a treatment due to spreading dangers over the face. If you have the tendency to get them, you should however know that if getting your upper lip waxed you could cause a breakout of one.
I plan to make a future post regarding bikini and Brazilian waxes and what you should know about this area of our bodies when getting waxed. This post was just essential or basic knowledge for you to have when you are thinking about getting waxed.
I hope you have found this easy to read and not too dry.
let me know if you have any questions or concerns about the above post.
Thanks for taking the time to read!!